Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ask a Brave Question and Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

Gypsy Slow Down

This morning I woke up because there was sun in the window and I could hear Witt downstairs doing dishes. Sun in the windows on a Wednesday. Must be the beginning of my vacation! I drifted back to sleep because how comfortable is the bed when you just wake up, so much so then when you got in it the night before. Then I woke up again, kissed Witt goodbye and came downstairs to make muffins. I got to walk around in my robe, past 6am and smell the sweet aroma of muffins cooking while I did my devotions and drank my coffee on the couch in the peace and quiet of my house. Which has recently been spring cleaned. I felt like June Cleaver.

This doesn't happen often. Usually I feel like Tyrannosaurus Rex in the morning. I'm stomping downstairs, then trying to read my Beth Moore study with my eyelids drooping, annouyed at Witt's morning perkiness, putting on my make-up and watching the news, hoping it won't be 90 degrees out since I'm just miserable being hot and then we can't really go outside so we are cooped up and I hate to sweat...and so on.

Gypsy Slow Down

And then I get to work and I talk to my boss and I'm all chipper and sweet and then I get the kids up with a "Rise and Shine!" all smiling like my Mom used to do, make them breakfast, talk about our exciting plans for the day and I don't even wonder what's wrong with that picture.

Lately I have been reading some really good marriage blogs. I kind of stumbled on one of them and then it led me to another and so on and I am learning so much. The blogs discuss great topics, mostly things that effect our marriage and ways to keep it strong. A current theme in the blogs is that marriages don't suddenly explode, it's the little things that erode them away. And its also the little things that slowly strengthen our marriages.

I have a lot to learn. One day I read a discussion on this marriage blog where it suggested that if you are brave enough, sit down with your spouse and ask them this question. If there was one thing you would change about me in the context of our marriage, what would it be? And then they are supposed to ask you the same thing. One difference Witt and I have is that he doesn't hold back. There is no softening of the words, no glossing over, he will tell you what he thinks very bluntly. Witt is learning that this doesn't work so well with me and I am learning to see the love behind his words and to get over it. Families are different. Anyway, I braced myself, because I knew Witt would tell me exactly what he thought.

"I wish that you could be more positive. When I call you during the day, you just seem so ticked off and you complain about everything, sometimes I don't even want to talk to you."

Ouch. I totally do that. And it made me sad, because I remember how my Mom used to tell us that she made an effort early on in her marriage that whenever my Dad would call her during the day, even if we were screaming and raising hell, she would try to sound positive.

Basically, she taught me this already. 

Gypsy Slow Down

And I haven't been practicing it as much as I should. What happens with me and I'm sure everyone else who has a job outside or inside the home, is that I have to gloss over my feelings all day. I try to write in my gratitude journal, I have patience with the kids I watch, there are happy times and then harder times, sometimes I clean poop off the floor. Then, since there is no one to talk to at my job, when Witt calls I just need to vent about the harder times. But just because I need to do something doesn't mean I should. Sometimes I should vent because it's healthy. When I get home, and we are drinking a glass of wine together, relaxing, we will both tell our stories. And then it's so much easier to leave them where they were.

So yesterday, even when things were crazy, I tried to be positive when I talked to Witt on the phone. I even calmly talked about some of the issues I was having and tried to find the humor in them (it is pretty funny when the kids clean out the hamster cage and make more of a mess than if they hadn't even cleaned it). And when I hung up...I felt better. Much better than when I complained about everything. It was like my own fake optimism had turned into real optimism.

And so I think I will apply this principle to my mornings too. Because during the day, how do I want Witt to remember me? Sulking because I got up early, stomping around or bravely putting a smile on my face, calmly sharing my fears for the day, praying together, smiling, seeing what I can be thankful for in the morning. That's how I would want to remember him. And in the end I think it will change how I feel on the inside, too. It won't be easy.

As I said, I have a lot to learn.

So back to this morning and these amazing muffins! My Mom found this recipe years ago and makes them sugar free for me. I always request it on special occasions. The trick, as she told me and in past attempts I ignored, is to barely mix the batter. Like, it's ok to see some dry flour in there. They turn out super moist and you can use blueberries, cranberries, chocolate chips or just make them cinnamon. I am going to try these with blackberries once I get outside and start picking the ones at the edge of the field.

Gypsy Slow Down

Whole-Wheat Blueberry Muffins adapted from Cooking Light

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour 
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar or 1/2 cup stevia plus 1 tablespoon, divideed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange rind
  • 3/4 cup orange juice (about 1 large orange)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil 
  • large egg, lightly beaten 
  • 1 cup chopped fresh blueberries 
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)
  • Cooking spray 

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Set aside 1 tablespoon sugar. Combine flour, remaining sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture.
  • Combine rind, juice, oil, and egg in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Fold in blueberries and walnuts. Spoon batter into 16 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with reserved sugar. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until the muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Run a knife or spatula around outer edge of each muffin cup. Carefully remove each muffin; place on a wire rack.

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